KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Bar plans to sue the police for disallowing a peaceful protest march to Parliament yesterday, says its president Karen Cheah.
“We will gather the evidence, video recordings and also speak to some lawyers on what transpired at the gathering before seeking legal counsel on the next course of action.
“The action will be on constitutional breaches by the police in denying us the right to hold the peaceful protest,” she said yesterday.
She added that under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, there was no need for the Bar to get police permission to hold the gathering or protest march except to give the police notice.
She said that the required notice was given on June 7 but the police only got back to the Bar on June 16.
Cheah said the reply given by the police in their written response to the Bar noted that the denial was due to Covid-19 preventive measures.
However, she said the Covid-19 negative list has since been abolished and there were no longer any restrictions to holding a procession.
“During negotiations with the police during the gathering, we asked the reason for denying us the right to walk.
“We were told one word, ‘security’ without any further explanation why we were not allowed to march to Parliament,” she said.
Cheah questioned why lawyers in Sabah were allowed to carry out a peaceful protest march while lawyers here were denied this right.
Meanwhile, when asked to comment on the recent viral documents, purportedly linked to Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s case showing that Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali had attended a 1Malaysia Development Board meeting while he was a legal counsel in Maybank and whether the judge should have recused himself from the SRC International case, Cheah said she was aware of such claims, saying that it is likely to be raised by the former premier’s defence team.
“We must have faith in the courts or the judge who is listening to the application to determine if there were issues of conflict of interests or risk or bias.
“We should leave it to the courts to decide,” she said, adding that it was too premature to come to any conclusion without the matter being thoroughly examined by the courts first.
In a related development, Dang Wangi OCPD Asst Comm Noor Dellhan Yahaya said police will be calling those involved in the protest in Padang Merbok to have their statements recorded.
He said investigations would be conducted under the Peaceful Assembly Act and the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas).
“All individuals involved will be called to the Dang Wangi police headquarters so that we can record their statements to assist our investigations,” he said.
He added that around 220 members of the Malaysian Bar had participated in the rally.
The “Walk for Judicial Independence” went on only as a gathering without any protest march by lawyers to Parliament.